Tractor Aerodynamics

“Aerodynamic tractors have clearly become the standard over the past decade as fuel prices rose from $1.50 to $4 per gallon. And they continue to pay for themselves even at lower fuel prices.”

Rick Mihelic, NACFE Study Manager

OEMs are constantly working on improving the performance of their tractors. Most of today’s tractors are designed for aerodynamic efficiency. The flagship aerodynamic OEM models have been extensively optimized at the complete vehicle level to provide the best performance for a significant portion of the OEM’s customer base. Tractor aerodynamics are customized as a system by the truck maker, and devices are not interchangeable from one manufacturer to another. The choice for the fleet owner is to select an OEM and then potentially subtract devices from the OEM’s optimized configuration. The fuel saving benefits of aerodynamic devices on sleeper tractors have been documented. Day-cab tractors also benefit from the addition of aero devices even at typically lower average speeds and lower miles travelled.

Decision-Making Tools

The Confidence Matrix has been issued to help fleets make decisions about tractor aerodynamic devices.